There must be lessons for us somewhere? Changes in titles, rules, comms and digital media are important but it is also about the wider narrative – what is our our message to young people, what can we offer them and how do we deliver it?
1. Scrap traditional reps and activist job titles and descriptions and start again from the basis about what needs to be done. Titles like Chair and Secretary appear boring and administrative not proactive, action based roles that might motivate someone to get involved.
Yes/No. Titles should reflect what needs to be done but you need someone to "chair" a meeting. A "secretary" needs to take notes on what is decided at meetings. What new titles?
2. Introduce rep retirement ages so that reps step down from their union role 12/18 months before they retire from work and are tasked with finding and mentoring younger successors.
Good idea but I suspect that compulsory retirement for branch officers is probably unlawful. The problem will be if you cannot find anyone to take on the role. However, no one is irreplaceable (even me) and if meaningful succession planning is done properly it can be done.
3. Branch officers and reps should be employed at the company/organisation, which means ending the practice of retired members holding branch positions.
Agreed but retired members can be an important asset to a branch and are often overlooked. There is a more immediate problem with multi-employer branches where branch officers don't have facility time to represent members in other employers nor the inside knowledge.
4. Following on from the previous suggestion, unions should adopt and properly resource formal succession planning and mentoring strategies for new reps.
5. Unions should launch a digital revolution in unions that utilises tech and includes radically democratising how we identify issues and narrow the gap between the decision we make and the action we need to take.
As you would imagine, I agree with this point but can we deliver this when the law means we can't even have Internet voting for many trade union elections? Still, we have no choice but to try, we need to take risks with technology and trust our members.